Rental properties make great homes but reform is needed

What really makes a house a home? With the Government’s fixation on buying, it’s hard for tenants in rental houses and rental flats to truly settle. But with some long-overdue reform to the Tenant and Landlord Act, we say property rental can make the happy home you deserve too.

What really makes a home? Is it owning a property? Or is it the feeling of belonging somewhere, and knowing you’ll stay long enough to make plans for the future? Whatever your answer, the archaic Tenant and Landlord Act of 1954 does its best to stop those of us in rental houses and rental flats ever getting too comfy. It’s a 60-year-old law in desperate need of reform – and here’s why.

A raw deal for renters

The Tenant and Landlord Act discriminates against tenants in UK rental properties in two big ways. First, it sets a maximum tenancy period of only one year. This means people in rental houses and rental apartments have little security. Most choose not to decorate, or even really settle in. And after a year is up, their home could be ‘cancelled’ at any time with short notice. Second, the Act provides little protection against unreasonable rent increases. Rents can be increased every year, provided they are in-line with local values. And it’s perfectly fair – from a market perspective. Landlords who comply with the Government’s tax laws and regulations are creating excellent homes and making a wise investment. But it leaves those in UK rental properties at the mercy of property bubbles and bursts. And we all know how common those are.

There is another way

But is there really any other way? In short: yes. In Germany, tenants can secure their rental house or rental apartment for as much as 30 years – and at well-protected prices. Because they stay long-term, many Germans decorate and even renovate their rental house or flat. In other words, Germans can make their rental property a real home. And with around 90 per cent of homes in Berlin being rental properties, it’s obviously working for this economic powerhouse.

It’s time for reform

Living in a rental property is a choice 4.2 million UK private tenants have made. That’s almost 18 per cent of British households. But according to the Government, tenants don’t deserve any stability. The Government is fixated on home buying – even though many of us don’t want it, or can’t afford it. We say it’s time for lawmakers to wake up from their fantasy. It’s time to reform the Tenant and Landlord Act – so that everyone can have the happy home they deserve.